Behind is always the sun
Born in Lithuania and who migrated to Australia after the Second World War had been trained in the German expressionist tradition and over the next 30 years gave to the Sydney watercolour scene an unprecedented toughness.
Henry Salkauskas (born 1925) arrived in Australia in 1949 after studying art at Freiberg University. His early influences included the strong Lithuanian tradition of black and white printmaking and his admiration for the black paintings of Pierre Soulages and Hans Hartung. His early works were figurative linocut prints and then in 1958 he began producing silkscreen prints. Later, after joining the Australian Watercolour Institute in 1963, he concentrated on that medium and finally dropped prints in 1965. Throughout his life he earned a living as a house painter as he believed that this would help his absolute independence of spirit as an artist.
Salkauskas retained remnants of the landscape in his work and used solid black brushstrokes to increase its dramatic nature. He has been described as a tonalist but there are differences. Salkauskas seeks elemental, emphatic masses. Salkauskas expressed his preoccupations as an artist in a statement he made in 1963: “Lines moving as lines or as masses represent creativity ruminating over or being ecstatic about water, earth, sky and cities; but it is rumination and ecstasy that I want to put down.”
Henry Salkauskas had his first solo exhibition at the Macquarie Gallery in 1961 and others at the Hungry Horse Gallery in 1964, Macquarie Gallery in 1970 and Holdsworth Galleries in 1971. He was winning prizes at local art competitions and won the Mosman Art Prize in 1963, 1964 and 1965. His work was represented in overseas exhibitions to Tokyo Japan, Lugarno Switzerland, Ljubljana Yugoslavia and Washington USA.
Henry Salkauskas was well known in Sydney for his influence in the re-invigorating the mediums of printmaking and watercolour, for his enthusiasm for organising exhibitions and for his warmth and generosity. After his untimely death a retrospective exhibition of his work was held at the Art Gallery of NSW in 1981 and Eva Kubbos proposed the establishment by the Gallery of the Henry Salkauskas Contemporary Art Purchase Award. The Award was endowed by the artist’s mother, Mrs Ona-Anna Salkauskas.
Exhibited in New Australians’ Art Exhibition University College, Canberra.
Lithuanian Artists in Australia Mark Foys’ Art Gallery, Sydney.
Exhibition with A. Simkunas Bissietta Art Gallery, Sydney.
Second Exhibition of Lithuanian Artists in Australia Melbourne.
Participated in Six Directions Exhibition Artists Society of Canberra.
Group show Riverside Museum, New York.
Participated in the Muffled Drums exhibition Terry Clune Gallery, Potts Point, Sydney.
Participated in 2nd International Print Biennale Tokyo.
Fifteen Australians exhibition London and Newcastle, UK.
First Solo Exhibition Macquarie Gallery, Sydney.
Exhibition, Museum of Modern Art of Australia, Melbourne.
Participated in Survey 1 exhibition, Blaxland Gallery, Sydney and Sao Paulo Biennale, Brazil.
Participated in 3rd International Print Biennale, Tokyo.
Survey 2, Blaxland Gallery, Sydney.
Australian Travelling Exhibition, South East Asia.
Participated in 5th International Exhibition of Graphic Art, Ljubljana, Yugoslavia.
Survey 3, Blaxland Gallery, Sydney.
Participated in International Exhibition of Prints and Drawings, Lugarno, Switzerland.
Included in the exhibition Australian Print Survey organised by the Art Gallery of NSW and travelled to Victoria, Tasmania, Queensland, Newcastle and South Australia.
Survey 4, Blaxland Gallery, Sydney.
Solo exhibition, Hungry Horse Gallery, Sydney.
Solo exhibition, South Yarra Gallery, Melbourne.
Solo exhibition , Bonython Gallery, Adelaide.
Participated in Young Australian Painters, Tokyo.
Survey 5, Blaxland Gallery, Sydney.
Participated in Australian Prints Today, Washington, USA.
Contemporary Australian Painting, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Survey 6, Blaxland Gallery, Sydney. Australian Contemporary Drawings, Newcastle Region Art Gallery, NSW.
Participated in Five Painters Exhibition, Macquarie Galleries, Sydney.
Exhibition , Macquarie Galleries, Canberra.
Australian Painters 1964 - 66 , Washington, USA.
International Young Painters’ Exhibition, Tokyo.
Solo exhibition, Powell Street Gallery, Melbourne.
Solo exhibition , Macquarie Gallery, Sydney.
Participated in Sydney Printmakers’ Exhibition, Holdsworth Galleries, Sydney.
Ten Printmakers 1970, Australian State Galleries.
Solo exhibition , Powell Street Gallery, Melbourne.
Solo exhibition, Holdsworth Galleries, Sydney.
Solo exhibition , Reid Gallery, Brisbane.
Participated in 50th Annual Exhibition of the Australian Watercolour Institute, Blaxland Gallery, Sydney.
Participated in travelling exhibition of Australian Watercolour Institute.
Participated in Watercolour exhibition , Dalmar Gallery, Sydney.
Henry Salkauskas Retrospective Exhibition , Art Gallery of NSW.
1989 - 1998
Works from the collection of the Art Gallery of NSW have been included in group exhibitions at the gallery, in Australian touring exhibitions and in exhibitions in Tokyo.